Melioidosis is on the Category B list of potential bioterrorism agents issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a tropical disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a motile, aerobic, non-spore-forming Gram-negative bacterium found in soil and water. It is transmitted through direct contact of penetrating wounds or skin lesions with contaminated soil and water. Evidence for person-to-person transmission, inhalation of organisms, laboratory acquired infection, and vector transmission have also been documented. The clinical manifestations are widely varied, from asymptomatic to septicemia.
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